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BGSU

Loss to Ball State turned BG's season Falcons enter postseason on hot streak

BOWLING GREEN - Danny Schmitz calls losing 32-10 at home to Ball State earlier this season one of the lowest moments during his 20 years as Bowling Green State University's baseball coach.

It's in the Falcons record books as the worst loss in team history.

"We've had some games where we've given up 20 or so runs, but even some of those games we've come out and won," Schmitz said. "That [loss to Ball State] was a humbling experience, to say the least.

"You want to get in the record books, but you don't want to get in that way."

Ironically, the memorable defeat at Steller Field ultimately served as an unexpected jumpstart for an impressive turnaround by a team that started out the season dropping its first six games and stood at 7-16-1 at one point.

The Falcons responded by closing out the second half in blazing fashion - winning 21 of 26 games - en route to claiming a share of the Mid-American

tum into the MAC tournament scheduled to start today at V.A. Memorial Stadium in Chillicothe, Ohio.

Fittingly, the No. 5 seed Falcons will face No. 4 seed Ball State (28-27, 19-8 MAC) in a game set to start at 9 a.m.

"We just need to relax and just play the game," Schmitz said. "Concentrate on what we can control - the three phases - the pitching, the defense, and the hitting."

Seniors Derek Spencer, Logan Meisler, Dennis Vaughn, and Mark Galvin have been instrumental in the Falcons' recovery from a start that may have signaled doom for most teams.

Spencer, who tagged a walk-off homer in the final game against Buffalo to secure a share of the division title, batted .306 with 12 home runs and 46 RBIs.

Meisler batted .328 with 11 extra-base hits, including a team-high six triples, while Vaughn has batted .333 and has driven in a team-high 52 RBIs. Galvin closed out the regular season batting .337 with 41 runs scored and 24 RBIs.

Clay Duncan, a junior, said the Falcons, who were favored to win a MAC title, became closer after the 22-run loss to Ball State.

"We sat in that locker room forever thinking about that game and said we can never have another game like that, nor do we need to play like that day," Duncan recalled. "Since that day, we've kind of had a chip on our shoulders and said we're better than what we were capable of that day."

T.J. Blanton, a senior who is batting .378 with a team-high 14 homers, expects the Falcons to be motivated and ready to face the Cardinals.

"I think morning games we play better," Blanton said. "We're going to get up and we'll be ready. It's going to be a hot day, but we're going to get it over with early, so that shouldn't be a factor. We should be ready to go."

Contact Donald Emmons at:

demmons@theblade.com

or 419-724-6302

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